Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Language: News of its Death Greatly Exaggerated..

Samizdat, a book published by Pathfinder Press...Image via Wikipedia

I am not an apologist for Twitter. These technologies come and go and what remains is the ingenious methods that humans devise to connect with one another. There is nothing superficial about the insatiable drive for people to connect. I find it really ironic that someone can publish an article about how Twitter is destroying the English language when half a world away the streets of Tehran are burning and there is no main stream media there to get the message out. The news of the riots, student deaths and voter fraud is getting out through Twitter, the current unsuppressable voice of the people, the cyber samizdat. What is language for but to inform and express ourselves? How can something that so powerfully enables that expression be "the death of language"? Aren't we forgetting that language is not an end unto itself? What was the last 20 page paper that changed the world? It is a very simple tool. Short, sometimes cryptic utterances that are merely 124 characters long, yet it is undermining the foundations of power in ways that the mainstream media once did. Articles like that declare Twitter to be the death of language, meaningless, or superficial are only looking how it works not what it does or the effect. What is does is create networks that enable communication, and we will see that this kind of technology will have as profound effect on the world as the telegraph or the radio.

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